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Carb Diva's Colcannon, or Irish Mashed Potatoes

Updated on December 13, 2017
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.


Mashed potato is the Gentile’s chicken soup. It’s nature’s tranquilizer. I take it instead of valium

— Andrew Payne
5 stars from 1 rating of Colcannon

I really like mashed potatoes. Actually, I LOVE mashed potatoes. And a few nights ago my husband was watching a travel show on Ireland; they featured a local cook preparing Colcannon and it looked.....amazingl! (I'll explain in a minute what colcannon is). Anyhow, husband turned to me and said "That looks really good. Could you make that for us?"

How could I possibly say "no"? Thanks to paternal grandma I'm one-quarter Irish. And potatoes are a daily dietary requirement, aren't they?

Now, for an explanation of Colcannon--simply put, it's buttery mashed potatoes swirled with green cooked cabbage and (occasionally) bits of pork in the form of Canadian bacon or ham.

Now, colcannon isn't exactly "health food". Potatoes and cabbage, on their own or together are certainly health-conscious additions to ones diet. But the smoked pork and AMPLE nobs of butter applied to the final product quickly reduce this recipe from a thoughtful dietary choice to a planned act of temporary insanity.

Call me crazy--I love Colcannon:

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 5 hours 15 min
Ready in: 5 hours 45 min
Yields: 4-6 servings


  • 2 pounds smoked pork neck bones
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 head cabbage or 1 bunch kale (stems and ribs removed)
  • 4 or 5 (depending on size) Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  1. Place pork neck bones in crock pot (slow cooker). Cover with water and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender (3-4 hours on high). Remove meat from cooker and set aside to cool. Reserve water in crock pot.
  2. Chop cabbage into small (1 inch) dice and add to water in crock pot. Cover and cook on low one hour. Drain cabbage and set aside.
  3. When cool enough to handle, remove all bones and fat from cooked pork. Set aside.
  4. Place potatoes in steamer basket in large saucepan with lid. Cover and steam over low heat until potatoes are done--a sharp knife should easily slide into the potato. When potatoes are cool enough to handle remove skins; place peeled potatoes in large bowl. Mash until no lumps remain; add 1/4 cup butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until all butter is incorporated. Heat milk in microwave; add to potatoes and continue to whip until potatoes are creamy.
  5. Using a large spoon stir cooked cabbage and cooked pork into mashed potatoes. Divide mixture among 4 serving bowls. Using a wooden spoon, make a well in the middle of each serving. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in each well.
  6. Luxuriate!

And What About Corned Beef and Cabbage?

Two days ago I was at my local grocery store, and bought a head of cabbage, specifically in preparation for making this dish. The clerk at the checkout line asked if I was making corned beef and cabbage. (Almost everyone who meets me assumes {correctly} that I'm part Irish. If the reddish-blonde hair and green eyes were not enough of a hint, the leprechaun stature is usually a dead giveaway.) I laughed and tried to explain the corned beef and cabbage is an American dish. Any true Irishman, seeing such a large hunk of meat on his table, would have thought that he had died and gone to Heaven.

© 2013 Linda Lum


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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 9 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Hello Devika - So happy to hear from you; I think this is the first time you have left a comment on my page. I do hope that you have an opportunity to try this dish. If you do, please let me know if you enjoyed it. Thank you for stopping by.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 10 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A lovely photo of this recipe. I will try it!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 10 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      This recipe looks so delicious!

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 10 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - I would love to visit Ireland. My dad's mother was Irish; she went to Canada in 1896 as an officer with the Salvation Army--the first mission work of the SA in North America.

      The grocer where I typically purchase my smoked pork has gone out of business, and I'm scrambling to find a new source. Wish me luck, and I do hope that you give colcannon a try.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 10 months ago from USA

      I missed this when you first published it, but I'm glad to have read it now. I would like to try Colcannon, as I am a sucker for butter and mashed potatoes. I'm Irish, too, and my father has traced our lineage way back. We had a chance about 10 years ago to visit both Ireland and Northern Ireland, and it was amazing.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 22 months ago from Washington State, USA

      The crockpot is already busy was work in the CarbDiva house. Looking forward to dinner tonight (and no, there will be no green beer. That's also a {gross} American thing).

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 22 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      very good hub, irish mashed potato is different from the normal one